Biobehavioral Pain Laboratory

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The Biobehavioral Pain Laboratory conducts research on pain and pain management interventions for children and adolescents who are treated at CHLA. Through point-of-care and longitudinal assessments, we investigate the efficacy of interventions designed to decrease acute and chronic pain in addition to improving overall pediatric/adolescent health outcomes and healthcare experiences.

Areas of Research

  • The biological and behavioral aspects of pain
  • Integrative health
    • Evaluating the efficacy of traditional integrative health methods, such as mindfulness and acupuncture
    • Investigating the potential of digital technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and biofeedback to elevate standard of care
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, medical trauma, and systematic secondary traumatic stress in patients and health care providers
  • Neurocognitive outcomes and neurocognitive functioning (ie. memory, concentration, and judgment)

Impact

In better understanding pain and its management, we hope to enhance standard of care and better the quality of life and care for patients, family, and healthcare providers.

Meet Our Team

  • Current
  • Accomplishments
  • Alumni

Staff

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Arianna Lane, BA
Project Specialist

Arianna graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in May 2018. She first became interested in psychology when she completed her high school capstone project on attachment theory in romantic relationships. The summer after her sophomore year of college, Arianna’s eyes were opened to the field of research when she began volunteering in Dr. Gold’s lab. She hasn’t looked back since! During her time as a full-time staff member, Arianna has worked on projects spanning a variety of topics, such as VR for pediatric pain and anxiety, PTSD following critical illness; functional outcomes in patients with ARDS; delirium in the ICU, and secondary traumatic stress in nurses. Arianna is particularly curious about youth risk and resilience and mental health outcomes in the context of traumatic events and life stressors. As a Kansas City native, Arianna enjoys exploring all that LA has to offer, and hopes to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

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Erin Annick, BA
Project Coordinator

Erin graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelors of Arts in Mandarin Chinese and double minors in Art and Philosophy & Bioethics. After working at CHLA as a high school volunteer on the Provider-Tailored Interventions for Perioperative Stress (P-TIPS) study, Erin explored other passions during her college years. However, she was drawn back to the world of medicine as a summer volunteer, studying Virtual Reality (VR) in CHLA’s phlebotomy and radiology departments and Delirium and PTSD in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Upon graduating from Georgetown, Erin matriculated directly to a post-baccalaureate premedical program at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

Currently, Erin is a project coordinator at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she works on studies examining VR as a distraction method for patients undergoing painful/anxiety-provoking procedures in the urology department and in the ambulatory surgery center. She also assists on studies researching Secondary Traumatic Stress/Compassion Fatigue in CHLA medical personnel. Erin also enjoys working as a volunteer teacher with the Prison Education Project.

Volunteer Research Assistants

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Isabella Hauptman, BA

Isabella Hauptman is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California, where she majored in Cognitive Science and minored in Public Health. She is currently pursuing her M.S. in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. She is primarily interested in improving the way that healthcare addresses the human component of disease. In her spare time, she loves to cook, read, and learn!

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Simran Sekhon, BA 

Simran received her BA in Psychology from California State University Northridge. She is planning to receive a Masters of Science in Counseling at the California State University Fullerton. She states the following “I understand how important it is to combine research and therapy to come up with an evidence-based treatment for clients, therefore the research experience at CHLA is essential for my future career.” Outside the lab, she likes to listen to Bollywood music and watch Bollywood movies.

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Katherine Ho

Katherine is a junior at the University of Southern California studying human biology. She hopes to apply the valuable experiences she has gained from this lab to pursue a career in clinical research. Outside of the lab, she enjoys singing, writing songs, and eating desserts.

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Ryan Marty

Ryan is an undergrad at California State University Northridge Studying General Biology. He is on a pre-med path intending to work in the surgical field. Along with his research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, he is the Maternity/NICU department coordinator of a clinical program at Adventist Health Glendale. In his free time, he loves to sleep, eat, and fish. Ryan has also been waiting since he was 11 to receive an acceptance letter to Hogwarts; he would be in Slytherin.

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Mahak Kaur

Mahak is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California majoring in Health and Human Sciences. Mahak is interested in the clinical and social aspect of providing care and hopes to learn more about how medicine and technology can be interwoven to provide equitable care. Outside of the lab, she likes to draw on her iPad and go on hikes. 

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Christopher Lin, BS

Chris is a medical student at the Keck School of Medicine of USC interested in specializing in anesthesiology. Outside of the lab, you can find him grilling meat at all you can eat KBBQ or binge-watching Netflix in bed. 

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Jiana Ejbara

Jiana is an undergrad at California State University, Northridge, double majoring in Psychology and Child and Adolescent Development with an emphasis in applied developmental science. She is interested in the connection between childhood adversity and physical health problems as she believes the two are heavily related. Outside of the lab, she likes to binge watch Arabic soap operas, try new restaurants, and sleep.

Katherine was awarded the Rose Hills Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in summer 2019 and the USC Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship in fall 2019, fellowships given to USC students conducting research under faculty supervisors.

Isabella was named Valedictorian of USC Class of 2020. She is also a recipient of the Emma Josephine Bradley Bovard Award, which is awarded to graduating senior women who have attained the highest grade point average and contributed the most extracurricular service to the university.

Chris was selected as a Saban Scholar in summer 2020, given to students who are researching in fields that impact CHLA’s mission of creating hope and building healthier futures for the pediatric population of Los Angeles and globally.

Mahak was awarded the USC Provost Undergraduate Research Fellowship in summer 2020, which is awarded to USC undergraduates conducting research under the supervision of faculty.

NamePosition in LabDatesPlace / Position
Michelle FalivVolunteer RA9/18 – 09/19UCLA, Undergraduate student
Sabrina KohanzadVolunteer RA5/19 – 8/19Medical student, New York Medical College
Alliyah FarahiVolunteer RA10/18 – 6/19University of Southern California, undergrad
Roland DuvalVolunteer RA6/19 – 8/19Gonzaga University, undergrad
Sage Lachman, BAProject Coordinator2/18 – 1/19Duke University, Clinical Psychology Doctoral candidate
Melanie MoradiVolunteer RA2/18 – 1/19Mental health worker at Pacific Clinics
Ezie NguyenVolunteer RA5/16- 5/18Men’s Health Foundation, Interim Program Manager of Prevention Care Coordination
AriannaVolunteer RA5/16- 5/18Program specialist, Biobehavioral Lab CHLA
Melody Hannani, BAVolunteer RA8/16 -7/17Clinical Psychology Doctoral candidate, Alliant University
Erin Annick, BAVolunteer RA6/17 – 8/17Project coordinator, Biobehavioral Lab CHLA
Joshua ChoiVolunteer RA6/17 – 7/17Undergraduate student, Johns Hopkins
Bayle JamesVolunteer RA6/17 – 8/17Research Staff at Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Lab; UBC
Lily CampbellVolunteer RA6/17 – 8/17Undergraduate student, Boston College
Shelby SchenkmanVolunteer RA9/17- 11/17United Talent Agency, Coordinator
Sloane FisherVolunteer RA5/16-7/17Yale, School of Nursing
Raquel Engilman, MACRA7/10 – 5/17Pharma
Reina Factor, PhDVolunteer RA6/17 – 8/17Virginia Tech University
Natalia Jaramillo Vasquez, BAProject coordinator7/14 – 7/16University of California, Santa Barbara, Psychology PHD candidate
Andrew ConnorsVolunteer RA10/14 – 6/16Catholic University, doctorate student
Ena NielsonVolunteer RA1/15 – 6/16Medical resident, USC, Keck School of Medicine
Linda TsuiVolunteer RA10/14 – 6/16University of Southern California
Darielle EngilmanVolunteer RA6/16-7/16Duke university undergraduate
Susan MaurielloVolunteer RA9/15 – 6/16Medical resident, USC, Keck School of Medicine
Kelsey ThayerVolunteer RA10/15 – 5/16USC
Jessica PedersenVolunteer RA10/15 – 5/16USC
Zoe GlickVolunteer RA6/15 – 8/15University of California, Berkeley
Elizabeth BlotskyVolunteer RA6/14 – 2/15Medical resident, USC, Keck School of Medicine
Sammy WilkinVolunteer RA7/15-9/15University of California, Davis
Elaine YangVolunteer RA6/13 – 5/15Medical resident, USC, Keck School of Medicine
John David Barton, MAProject coordinator3/14 – 8/15Pepperdine University, Psychology
Rika M. L. Meyer, PhDResearch Scientist8/11 – 4/15Assistant Professor, CSUN
Jennifer SakiokaVolunteer RA1/14 – 5/15Medical resident, USC, Keck School of Medicine
Lisa SchamberVolunteer RA6/13 – 5/15Medical resident, USC, Keck School of Medicine
Arianna RobinVolunteer RA5/14 – 8/14University of Southern California
Veronica Diaz, BAProject coordinator12/12 – 9/14Social worker, UCLA
Stephanie WetzelVolunteer RA1/13 – 5/14University of Southern California USC Interdisciplinary Award 1st Prize
Isabella YorkVolunteer RA6/14 – 8/14Cornell University
Lona TehraniVolunteer RA6/14 – 8/14University of California, Berkeley
Sanjay BelaniVolunteer RA5/13 – 9/13Chicago Medical School
Porshad ElieVolunteer RA6/14 – 8/14Pre-Medical Intern at Stetson Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Nicole KashaniVolunteer RA11/12 – 5/13University of Southern California
Virginia Beas, MSCRA12/10 – 10/13Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Megan DerickVolunteer Research Assistant (RA)9/12 – 1/13Westridge School for Girls
Jennifer Chang, MACRA (full form?)6/11 – 7/12Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Tara Raines, M.Ed.Pre-doctoral Intern7/11 – 7/12Assistant Professor at University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV)
Johanna VillanuevaVolunteer RA06/11 – 9/11; 7/12 – 9/12University of Pennsylvania
Sylvia Charles, MDVolunteer RA7/12 – 8/12USC, Keck School of Medicine
Riva BallisVolunteer RA07/11 – 9/11U. California, Davis
Jared NagerVolunteer RA10/10 – 6/11CHLA
Beth Barber, MS - Clinical ExcellencePre-doctoral Intern7/10 – 6/11Stanford Children’s Hospital
Alexis Yetwin, MAPre-doctoral Intern7/10 – 6/11Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Staff Pediatric
Cynthia Chinn, MDVolunteer RA12/10 – 5/11Fellow, Anesthesia
Casey SimonVolunteer RA5/10 – 8/10Pepperdine University
Daniella GinsburgVolunteer RA9/08 – 5/10CHLA, Post-doctoral fellow in Pulmonary
Oscar Donoso, MA - Leadership Award 2010Pre-doctoral Intern7/09 – 6/10Staff Psychologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Jamie PeregrineVolunteer RA7/08 – 1/10Medical resident, USC, Keck School of Medicine
Mekel Harris, PhD - Clinical Excellence Award 2009Pre-doctoral Intern7/08 – 6/09Assistant Professor at Chicago School of Prof. Psychology
Nicole PampaninVolunteer RA5/08 – 9/08Lewis and Clark
Sarah RusselVolunteer RA6/07-6/08University of Southern California, Medical School
Lisa Tang, PhDPre-doctoral Intern7/07 – 6/08Private practice, Seattle, WA
Despina Colette Nicolaou, PhD - Research Excellence and Clinical Excellence AwardPre-doctoral Intern7/06 – 6/07Rice University, Texas
Nicole MahrerResearch Coordinator6/07- 6/09Assistant Professor at La Verne University
Erin Dowdy, PhDPre-doctoral Intern8/05 – 7/06UCSB, Assoc. Professor
Alexis Kant, BACRA10/04 – 9/06Psychologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Dana Season, PsyDVolunteer RA1/05 – 3/06Kaiser Permanente, Pain Management
Katie Kunitzer, MSWPre-doctoral Intern9/04 – 8/05Scottsdale Unified School District, Arizona
Zorash MontanoVolunteer RA8/08 - 07/10Psychologist Urology CHLA
Erin Dowdy, PhDPre-doctoral Intern8/05 – 7/06UCSB, Assoc. Professor
Alexis Kant, BACRA10/04 – 9/06Psychologist, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Dana Season, PsyDVolunteer RA1/05 – 3/06Kaiser Permanente, Pain Management
Katie Kunitzer, MSWPre-doctoral Intern9/04 – 8/05Scottsdale Unified School District, Arizona
Raj Augustine, PhDVolunteer RA8/03 – 7/04Los Angeles, private practice
Anya Griffin, PhDVolunteer RA2/02 – 7/04Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Kerri SchutzVolunteer RA5/03 – 6/04VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
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Publications and Media

  • Lab Publications
  • Media
  • Project Studies
  • Posters

Gold JI, Kim SH, Kant AJ*, Joseph MH, & Rizzo A. Effectiveness of virtual reality for pediatric pain distraction during IV placement. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2006; 9, 207-212. (cited by 252)

Gold JI, Belmont KA*, & Thomas D. The Neurobiology of Virtual Reality Pain Attenuation. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2007; 10, 536-544. PMID: 17711362. (cited by 126)

Gold JI, Kant AJ*, & Kim SH. The Impact of Traumatic Physical Injury: A Review of Pain, Acute and Posttraumatic Stress. Journal Pediatric Nursing, 2008; 23, 81-91. (cited by 34) Mahrer NE*, & Gold JI. The use of virtual reality for pain control: A review. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 2009; 13, 100-109. (cited by 143)

Gold JI, Mahrer NE*, Ye J, & Palermo TM. Pain, fatigue and health-related quality of life in children and adolescents with chronic pain. Clinical Journal of Pain, 2009; 25, 407-412. (cited by 146)

Vichinsky EP, Neumayr LD, Gold JI, Weiner MW, Rule RR, Truran D, Kasten J, Eggleston B, Kesler K, McMahon L, Orringer EP, Harrington T, Kalinyak K, De Castro LM, Kutlar A, Rutherford CJ, Johnson C, Bessman JD, Jordan LB, & Armstrong, FD; For the neuropsychological dysfunction and neuroimaging adult sickle cell anemia study group. Neuropsychological dysfunction and neuroimaging abnormalities in neurologically intact adult patients with sickle cell anemia. Journal of American Medical Association, 2010; 303, 1823-1831. (cited by 198)

Li A*, Montaño Z*, Chen VJ, & Gold JI. Virtual Reality and Pain Management: Current Trends and Future Directions. Pain Management, 2011; 1, 147-157. (cited by 193)

Gold JI & Mahrer NE. Is Virtual Reality Ready for Prime Time in the Medical Space? A Randomized Control Trial of Pediatric Virtual Reality for Acute Procedural Pain Management. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 2018; 43, 266-275. PMID: 29053848 (cited by 47)

Click here to see the complete list of publications

News Articles

2019 New York Times-“Virtual Reality as Therapy for Pain”

2019 Leapsmag-“Virtual reality is making medical care for kids less scary and painful”

2019 Channel News Asia (CNA) Lifestyle- “Virtual reality as therapy may teach patients skills to
cope with chronic pain”

2019 Parentology-“New Transnasal Endoscopies Require No Anesthesia With VR”

2019 Parentology- “How Virtual Reality Helps Kids in Medical Settings”

2018 DematologyTimes- “Self-care for the modern age”

2018 Washington Post “Virtual reality is being used by hospital to help people cope with pain”

2017 CHLA- “Can virtual reality be used to manage pain at a pediatric hospital”

2017 The Wall Street Journal – Enlisting Virtual reality to Ease Real Pain

2017 LIVESTRONG.com - 8 Ways Virtual Reality Is a Game Changer for Wellness in 2017

2017 Beverly Hills Courier “Virtual Reality In Pediatrics: Game Changer For Patients, Providers
At CHLA”

2017 eHealthNews.eu. “Can Virtual Reality be Used to Manage Pain at a Pediatric
Hospital?”

2016 KTLA5 Los Angeles — Kids at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Visited by Characters From a
Galaxy Far, Far Away

2016 Fox News- Swedish clinics use virtual reality to reduce the sting of shots

Science Daily- Screening for mental health issues in a pediatric emergency department

2016 UnlockedTV - How gaming is used at Children's Hospital Los Angeles to help patients

2016 Polygon News – “Virtual reality may be a new, cheaper weapon in the war on pain”

2015 ScienceDaily - Screening for mental health issues in a pediatric emergency department

Magazines

2019 Tower Cancer Magazine

2018 Health Tech Magazine “Healthcare Treatment, Training, Reaches New Heights with VR”

2018 Practical Pain Management “Gaming as a Tool for Pain Relief”

2017 R&D Magazine “Virtual Reality Reduces Pain, Anxiety for Kids in Hospitals.”

2017 ResearCHLA Magazine

Virtual Reality in Pediatrics

ResearCHLA Blog

PTSD Can Affect Sick Kids? Your Medical PTSD Questions Answered

Not Only an Adult Condition, Fibromyalgia Affects Kids, Too

Eastern Medicine’s Role in the Emergency Department

Screening for Mental Health Issues in a Pediatric Emergency Department

Effectiveness of VR to Reduce Pre-Operative Anxiety

This study is a randomized control trial in CHLA’s Ambulatory Surgery Center that studies the efficacy of virtual reality to manage pre-operative pain and anxiety. Approximately 65% of children experience anxiety and distress before surgery. An increase in distress tends to lead to an increase in medications required and a delay in patient discharge time. Virtual reality as a non-pharmacological intervention has shown to decrease anxiety and distress when provided before multiple medical procedures. No clinical trials have examined the efficacy of pre-operative virtual reality to prevent anxiety and to reduce pain. This study places patients into either the virtual reality or the standard of care condition. The virtual reality condition includes virtual reality and augmented reality usage, in addition to CHLA’s standard of care. The patient uses virtual reality before and during the IV placement and uses augmented reality during mask induction. For data collection, the patient, the caregiver, and the physician are all surveyed, and patient observations are coded at multiple time points.  Virtual reality is a promising tool to reduce patients’ pre-operative anxiety and allow healthcare providers to provide the best possible care.

VR to Reduce Pain/Anxiety During Painful Procedures

This study examines virtual reality as a pain management intervention to reduce the distress related to medical procedures. Venipuncture and IV placement are routine painful procedures that can produce high levels of distress and anxiety in children. Technological developments indicate virtual reality technology as a promising distraction from this pain. This study utilizes a multi-method approach for outpatients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In this randomized control trial, children of ages 10-21 are randomly assigned to either the control group, which is provided with CHLA’s standard of care, or the experimental group, which receives standard of care plus virtual reality technology. Data is collected through self- and proxy-report measures, alongside coded observations. This study explores virtual reality as a tool to improve pediatric pain management.

Secondary Traumatic Stress in Healthcare Providers

This study addresses job-related traumatic stress in CHLA’s nurses and explores solutions to mitigate its effects. Nurses in critical care medicine are exposed daily to stressful and emotional experiences, including, but not limited to, patient deaths or relapses. When the wellbeing of nurses is overlooked, it is at the expense of the patient’s well-being. To better understand these vulnerable experiences, nurse data is collected in the Nurse Residency Program at CHLA about nurse job satisfaction, pre-existing traumatic experiences, and traumatic stress in the workplace. In addition to addressing fatigue and burnout, this study assesses the effectiveness of coping skills, mindfulness, and resiliency training for nurses. These interventions hone in on nurses’ experiences to decrease stress, improve retention, and increase job satisfaction. The quality of care given to patients lies in the hands of health care providers. This study provides support and finds solutions for CHLA’s nurses to ensure a healthy and satisfactory workplace.

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Research Grants

  • Active
  • Completed

“Enhancing Capacity to Prevent and Treat Opioid Use Disorders through Expanded Community Partnerships and Tele-Mental Health Strategies within an Urban, Underserved Population.”

Grant Number: Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program HRSA-19-002
Role: Co-Investigator Year: 2019-2022
Description: CHLA Psychology Program faculty propose to enhance its APA-accredited training of health psychology post-doctoral fellows to provide integrated, interdisciplinary, behavioral health and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and other Substance Use Disorder (SUD) services. Goals include training post-doctoral fellows to provide interdisciplinary screening, prevention, and treatment service in underserved communities. Goals also include training in tele-behavioral health technology.

“VR for Stress and Pain Management”

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bennett Foundation
Year: 2019-2021
Description: To deliver direct clinical service line for stress and pain management in children undergoing routine painful medical procedures. VR will be delivered and evaluated in a variety of clinical areas including, but not limited to phlebotomy, radiology, infusion center, emergency department, and pre-surgical operating area to assist in the management of stress and pain associated with painful medical procedures (e.g., IV start, PICC lines) and the stress associated with surgery. 

“Virtual Reality in Pediatrics”

Cancer Free Generation and the Board of Tower Cancer Research Foundation
Year: 2019-2020                                                                                                     
Description: VR will be studied in acute procedural medical situations, with an increased attention toward chronic management of pain, anxiety, depression, and stress associated with a variety of chronic medical health conditions. Through non-medication interventions (and non-pharmacological interventions partnered with medications), an ideal outcome would support specific VR applications toward certain health conditions.Effecting change, wellness, and improved overall health is best achieved when the “whole” child, biological, psychological, and social aspects, is considered.

“Medical Marijuana, Emerging Adults & Community: Connecting Health & Policy” 

Grant Number, Agency: NIH/NIDA (RO1) (PI: Stephen Lankenau)
Role: Consultant
Year: 2012-2022
Description: The overall objective is to determine the impact of medical marijuana on young adults’ physical and psychological health, since no studies have examined it. The central hypothesis is that young adult MMP evidence different histories, behaviors, and trajectories than young adults who are recreational or non-medical marijuana users. Findings will inform medical marijuana policy at the local, state, and national levels so that young adults either with or without recommendations for medical marijuana will lead healthy and productive lives.            

“Pain in child health (PICH), an innovative, international, transdisciplinary research training consortium”

Grant Number, Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research (STIHR) Stevens, B.J., Chambers, C.T., Craig, K.D., Finley, G.A., Grunau, R.E., Johnston, C., Pillai Riddell, R.R., Stinson, J., & von Baeyer, C.L.
Role: Collaborator
Year: 2009-2019
Description: Pain in child health, an innovative, international, transdisciplinary research training consortium Phase II.

The California Endowment (TCE) (April Fernando, WestCoast Children’s Center)

Grant Number, Agency: Foster Youth Development Program (FYDP) File number-20117888
Role: Director of Program Evaluation, Consultant
Year: 2002-2007
Description: This was a wrap-around clinical service program demonstration for foster youth at the West Coast Children’s Clinic, El Cerrito, California                

Touch Therapy for Hospitalized Children

Grant Number, Agency: First 5 Los Angeles (Shawnee Isaac Smith, Heart Touch)
Role: Consultant
Year: 2003-2007
Description: This was a community-initiated grant by Heart Touch for investigating the utility of compassionate touch with hospitalized children.

“Pediatric Disaster Resource and Training Center”

Grant Number, Agency: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (PI: Jeffrey  S. Upperman) (10/1/07-3/31/09) (Grant #1HFPEP070014-01-00)
Role: Consultant, Pediatric Psychological Support 
Year: 2007-2009
Description: With the support of the U.S. DHHS, CHLA has initiated the Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Project. Also with Los Angeles Emergency Medical Services Agency, CHLA has established the Pediatric Disaster Resource and Training Center (PDRTC). The central mission is to expand pediatric resources and expertise to a network of geographically dispersed health-care facilities; develop and deploy state-of-the-science pediatric disaster training to local providers.

“Using fMRI to Examine the Neurobiological Basis of Virtual Reality Pain Attenuation”

Grant Number, Agency: Saban Research Institute Clinical Research Academic Career Development Award (CRACDA)
Role: Principal Investigator
Year: 2007-2009 (Saban Research Institute - Intramural Funding)
Description: To enhance our understanding of how VR may attenuate pain perception, this study will employ functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technology to explore how functional activity in the brain relates to observed attenuation effects during an experimental pain paradigm.

“Supporting an Acupuncture Program with YSU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles”

Grant Number, Agency: Weingart Foundation Grant (PI: Lawrence Ryan, Yo San University)
Role: Co-Investigator
Year: 2009-2010
Description: A sustainability grant provided by the “Small Grants” Program at the Weingart Foundation to maintain an ongoing partnership between Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine for a Pediatric Acupuncture Program within the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“Supporting an Acupuncture Program with YSU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles”

Grant Number, Agency: Guenther Foundation Grant (PI: Lawrence Ryan, Yo San University)
Role: Co- Investigator
Year: 2010-2011
Description: A sustainability grant provided by the Guenther Foundation Grant to maintain an ongoing partnership between Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine for a Pediatric Acupuncture Program within the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“Validating a child acute stress measure in English and Spanish”

Grant Number, Agency: NIH/NIMH (RO1) (PI: Nancy Kassam-Adams) (1R01MH076116-01A2)
Role: Co-Investigator 
Year: 2007-2012
Description: Development of a validated brief child acute stress measure in English and Spanish addresses gaps in our ability to assess mental health consequences of trauma and violence for children and advances the NIH objective of increasing mental health screening in primary health care. Public health implications include improving the effectiveness of screening trauma-exposed children, in health care and other community settings, to guide appropriate service provision. Validated Spanish-language measures are particularly needed for the growing number of Spanish-speaking children in the US.

“Virtual Reality Analgesia: Using fMRI to explore the central mechanisms of VR’s effect on experimentally induced pain in adolescents with fibromyalgia.” 

Grant Number, Agency: University of Southern California – Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Southern California- Clinical Translational Science Institute Los Angeles Basin (SC-CTSI LAB) Role: Principal Investigator
Year: 2011-2011
Description: Study aims to clarify intricate mechanisms by using fMRI to probe the ways in which VR and a STROOP (cognitive distraction task) may modulate the neurobiological experience of pain in adolescents with fibromyalgia. This study enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which VR influences the body’s endogenous pain perception system. This study gave insight to future clinical applications of VR for new and effective managements of acute and chronic pain.

“Supporting an Acupuncture Program with YSU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles”

Grant Number, Agency: Green Foundation Grant (PI: Lawrence Ryan, Yo San University)
Role: Co- Investigator 
Year: 2011-2012
Description: A sustainability grant provided by the Green Foundation Grant to maintain an ongoing partnership between Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine for a Pediatric Acupuncture Program within the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“Patient Sociodemographic and Geographic Factors as a Source of Variation in Outcomes in a Los Angeles Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)”

Grant Number, Agency: University of Southern California–Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Southern California- Clinical Translational Science Institute Los Angeles Basin (SC-CTSI LAB) Pilot Award (PI: David Epstein)
Role: Mentor
Year: 2011-2012
Description: This study uses the state-of-the-art GIS and PICU database to determine the socioeconomic and local geographical barriers to PICU access and subsequent PICU outcomes. Functional outcome will be measured by Pediatric Overall Performance Category (POPC) and Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category (PCPC) scores at admission and discharge; the length of stay will be measured; the mortality in the PICU, after adjusting for patient race/ethnicity, age, diagnosis, and insurance type.

“Virtual Reality Analgesia: Using fMRI to explore the central mechanisms of VR’s effect on experimentally induced pain in healthy adolescents.”

Grant Number, Agency: NIH/NIDA (R21) (1R21DA025103-01), Cutting-Edge Basic Research Awards (CEBRA)
Role: Principal Investigator
Year: 2009-2012
Description: The study aimed to clarify intricate mechanisms by using fMRI to probe the ways in which VR may modulate the neurobiological experience of pain in healthy adolescents. This study enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which VR influences the body’s endogenous pain perception system. This study gave insight to future clinical applications of VR for new and effective managements of acute and chronic pain.

“Supporting an Acupuncture Program with YSU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles”

Grant Number, Agency: Weingart Foundation Grant, PI: Lawrence Ryan, Yo San University)
Role: Co-Investigator
Year: 2011-2012
Description: A sustainability grant provided by the “Small Grants” Program at the Weingart Foundation to maintain an ongoing partnership between Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine for a Pediatric Acupuncture Program within the Pediatric Pain Management Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“Stress and Pain Response in Children and their Parents following Admission to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit”

Grant Number, Agency: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Southern California- Clinical Translational Science Institute Los Angeles Basin (SC-CTSI LAB) NIH NCRR CTSI GRANT 1UL1RR031986  CTSI at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (PI: Lara P. Nelson)
Role: Mentor
Year: 2012-2013
Description: A prospective, longitudinal, multi-informant observational study of the stress response in children and their parents following admission to the PICU, including the physiologic/neuroendocrine mechanism and functional outcomes. Data include: physiologic admission data, child/parent cortisol levels at baseline, one- and three-month follow-up; child/parent self-report and semi-structured interviews on 20 children and their parents.